Firstly – thank you for all your kind words (see last post!)
As you can see I have been to New York. It was my first visit and it was exactly as I imagined it would be from seeing it on the television – only busier, taller, louder and twinklier. I had an awful lot that I wanted to do and I managed to do most of it in a very short space of time. One of the best things was an exhibition at the Guggenheim.
Zero: Countdown to Tomorrow, 1950’s-60’s focused on the German artists’ group Zero that aimed to redefine art in the wake of World War II. Although I was aware of some of the artists, I hadn’t heard of the group before. The group made connections with other like-minded artists from Europe, Japan and North and South America to form an International network of more than 40 artists. Their name indicated ‘a zone of silence and of pure possibilities for a new beginning as at the countdown when rockets take off’. It provided a launchpad for a new kind of art – a clean slate.
Zero devised fresh approaches to painting by using a reduced palette, structured lines and grids and by using a wide range of materials. I was particularly interested in these materials and their processes.
There was burning
Otto Peine, Venus of Willendorf, 1963
Bernard Aubertin, Large Fire Book, 1961
Gunther Uecker, White Mill, 1964
Gunther Uecker, The Yellow Picture, 1957-8
Walter Leblanc, Torsion, 1965
Heinz Mack, Lamellan- Relief, 1950-60
Adolf Luther, Virtual Picture (Mirror Object), 1966-7
Gunther Uecker, New York Dancer, 1965
Some artists explored using the environment as a site for their work (does this anticipate Landart?) Hans Haacke made works that used air and water. He laid out a manifesto for the way he worked:
… make something, which experiences, reacts, to its environment, changes, is non-stable …
…make something indeterminate, which always looks different, the shape of which cannot be predicted precisely …
…make something, which cannot ‘perform’ without the assistance of its environment …
…make something, which reacts to light and temperature changes, is subject to air-currents and depends, in its functioning, on the forces of gravity…
…make something, which the ‘spectator’ handles, with which he plays and thus animates it…
…make something, which lives in time and makes the ‘spectator’ experience time…
Without seeing this before I find that this is how I have been working for some time now – it’s nice to have it summarised and laid out before me.
All the photos were taken from the Guggenheim Zero catalogue.